Windows of Opportunity: The Market Will do a Much Better Job of Regulating Microsoft than Government Ever Would

Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace

Author(s): F. Scott Kieff

Research Area: Business

Keywords: Government Regulations; Microsoft; Free Market

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


In early 2008, Microsoft announced that it will take a much broader approach to providing access to extensive documentation about the software hookups called APIs for Microsoft’s high-volume products, such as Windows Vista, Office, and Server. It will also provide licenses to any applicable patents necessary to implement these protocols at low, nondiscriminatory rates. This will help other companies and the open-source community make their own programs interoperable with Microsoft’s.

Many will say that Microsoft is simply caving to pressure from antitrust regulators, and it is one likely factor leading to Microsoft’s increased openness; however, the market is a better tool to use in future efforts toward constructive engagement between producers and consumers, for several reasons outlined within the article.